The Host

”Come in, come in,” he said with arms flung wide in a halo of golden light and warmth that echoed in his smile. From behind him music played in spiral notes ascending into breathless peaks. Laughter and noise were his trade, the gathering of the bright and brave and beautiful in rooms that never became too hot and small. Where cheeks glowed under the lights of swaying chandeliers and shoulders and hair were sprinkled in golden dust that fell like feathers softly down.

 

            Through these rooms he walked, so sure so glad that he filled each heart with murmurs, like whispers in the ear of love and blessing. He bowed and turned, sought fiercely each new face, and met it with such a passion as if it alone had made the night.

           

            His hair sculpted like a night-frozen wave and foamed with silver threads moved above the heads of others. Wherever he was, that was the centre, carried with him by his benevolence, and kindly gestures elegant and smooth. He never forgot a name, or face, or circumstance, but that he asked with concerned ease and sympathy about that which was most dear to all. Whether it be family, or pet or pastime, he would remember to inquire, as if he’d been waiting breathless to hear. He was genuine, and interested in all things and no one could help believe it so.

 

            His tuxedo was perfection in its sleek lines, his tie a froth of whitest snow against the crisp glacier of his shirt. He bowed his head and nodded, guided hands toward the tables, where city-scapes of bottles glowed and the buffet feast was laid.

 

            And in the early hours, he sat up to see the last of them go, bow-tie untied, his sleeves folded back, ending their evening with yet another smile and a “Come again! Always welcome, always, my loves.” He presses his hand on theirs, like a gift, his kiss on ladies’ cheeks.

           

            But what lies behind the surface grace, the elegant veneer? That such a one could become the locus of, not love, but over-boiling envy and hate. Were we to see him as he sat alone, diminished, would his eyes be clouded weary? Would he tear up the memories of each night with vicious glee, and laugh and laugh at the facile fancies of his guests in their ridiculous roles engaged? Alone, lonely, he keeps his vigil and awaits the next shining time. Is he no one, with no company?

The End

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